Friday, March 16, 2012

Whatever Happened after the Kansas Learning Network Visit?

Numerous areas were identified for improvement following the Kansas Learning Network visit during the fall of 2010. Areas of particular focus were those of curriculum and instruction. What has the district staff been doing to make those improvements?

1)      All school buildings developed a team to plan for implementation of MTSS (Multi-tiered system of support). All Kingman schools identified reading as the area which needed focus and Norwich schools determined their focus would be on math. Using data obtained from various tests, students would be identified for further assistance to correct deficiencies. With new instructional tools available and data from testing, students deficiencies can be identified and significant improvements can be made. Though each building is at various levels of MTSS implementation, significant student improvement is already occurring.

2)      Administrators often stopped in various classrooms while walking around their buildings, but this school year, they do so with a specific purpose in most cases. District administrators worked with educational consultants to develop and become trained on the 5 minute observation. This gets administrators in the classrooms much more and in most cases, they make observations which they share with teachers almost immediately after completing the observation. This has led to numerous conversations and reflection on instruction and learning and since all of the data is recorded, areas of professional development are identified. For instance, a transition to the common core standards requires higher order thinking skills be developed. Data obtained from the observations led to professional learning during an in-service day to assist teachers in developing that type of instruction.

3)      Several teachers and administrators attended a week long KLN Curriculum Institute in Pittsburg, KS this past summer. With the work those educators began, a district curriculum leadership team was formed to redesign the math and English – Language Arts curriculum for the district that addressed current standards, identified resources including technology, and set the pace for what should be covered throughout the school year. Since Kansas, along with almost every other state, adopted the common core standards, their work is now continuing with making appropriate changes toward the common core standards. The work these dedicated professionals of our district have completed is phenomenal and they will lead the in-service for all instructional staff in April.

The above describes a few of the improvements currently being worked on in the district. I am extremely proud of the dedication and work of everyone involved and I hope all patrons are as well. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Good and Bad of Sports Article

The KSHSAA (the governing body of Kansas middle and high school activities), recently posted a great article about sportsmanship and I provided the link. As stated, it's a great reminder to all of us about our responsibilities as coaches, administrators, officials, and parents. As we finish up the winter sports season and begin the spring seasons, take a moment to read the article. It's based upon years of research and I believe the author makes some great points. I hope you enjoy it.

March 2, 2012 From Kansas State High School Activities Association

Click HERE to check out a wonderful article on the good and bad of sports parents.  It is a great reminder for all of us on what our role should be as parents, administrators, teachers, and coaches of our student-athletes.  As you will read, the article is based on the research and analysis of Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller of Proactive Coaching LLC.  Both of these gentlemen have recently spoken at the KSHSAA Coaching School and were well received by all who attended.  Hopefully you will find this article useful as you continuously work to promote and develop top notch athletics and activities programs in your school communities.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Into the Wild Blue Yonder and Beyond

Into the Wild Blue Yonder and Beyond
Bob Diepenbrock
Within the last few weeks, I’ve been contacted about USD 331 graduates who are excelling in their professions.  Mr. Ron Work, Physics teacher, contacted me about an alum of Norwich, Ashley Balzer, who is currently working for NASA in the office of education and works with the Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program. Mr. Work and Mr. Curtis Albin, co-physics teacher at Kingman, are working collaboratively to teach physics by connecting classrooms in both high schools via interactive television and are planning to set up experiments with Ashley using the interactive television.  

I was also contacted about a graduate of Kingman High School who is a pilot for the United States Air Force Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds are scheduled to perform in an air show at McConnell Air Force base in Wichita the last weekend of September. We hope to make a connection to Captain Blaine Jones (KHS alum) when he comes into the area this upcoming fall as well. You can read about Captain Jones at the Thunderbirds website at .

Congratulations to all of our alumni for their great contributions. We hope to connect to other alumni in the near future.